How much is that doggy (or purse) in the window?


How much is this worth? It’s covered right? Well, yes and no, not necessarily, it depends. How are these for answers? I get these questions a lot when I am reviewing coverage with an existing customer, or a potential customer. The truth of the matter is, when you are talking about your personal property, there are a lot of variables involved when it comes to insurance. The typical home, condo or renter’s insurance policy, does indeed have coverage that applies to your personal property, however, it is limited in scope and nature. Most policies have a specified dollar limit when it comes to certain items, such as, jewelry, home computers, tools, and other items depending on the policy. Another important issue, they are not only covered up to the limit specified in your policy, but they are only covered by named perils listed in your policy, think of the biggies, fire, theft, smoke damage.

This conversation comes up a lot when I happen to notice an inconspicuous diamond ring on a client’s finger. I comment on its beauty and then ask “is it insured?” 9 out of 10 times the answers are the same. Yes, it’s covered under my homeowner’s policy. I then ask if they ever provided an appraisal, had their agent inspect it, and they say “no.” Note, if you have not provided details to your agent to “schedule” your special items, i.e. provide details such as color, cut, clarity, etc., most likely it is not covered in the way you think it is. You may have up to $1500, or $2500, but that is it. Plus, it is only covered for the big listed perils above.

There are many other things that can be added to what we in the biz call a “Personal Articles Policy.” You can add antiques, rugs, electronic equipment, sporting equipment, i.e. golf clubs, art work, jewelry of course, and many other things. The beauty of these policies is, 1) the coverage is very broad, even covers earthquake and, 2) since the insurance company has an exact description, there is usually no argument as to the value and quality of the item should you have to open a claim.

I want to talk a little about claims involving your personal property, whether scheduled or not. If you haven’t done so already, I strongly suggest you do an inventory of your home. This can be done with many mediums, but I recommend a video, going room by room, and describing the contents as you go. You can also use a digital camera and photo specialty items and then mount them with a description and approximate value, plus any features you think may be important. All of this should be stored in either a safe deposit box at your bank, or some type of fire retardant safe in your home. This will not only help you in the claims process, but your claim representative will love you. If you have receipts, manuals, etc., store these in there as well.

I can tell you from personal experience, many of us don’t realize how much “stuff” we have until we actually inventory it. Are you are a lover of expensive shoes and handbags, ringing any bells ladies? You should definitely do this. These items can add up quickly. Years ago, my husband was working as a Fire Claim Representative. He came home after working on a fire and told me a lady had told him she had a purse worth over $1500. He said this mind you, with a look of almost disgust, as if to say, why would someone spend this type of money on a purse!. I said, “Hello, purses can cost thousands of dollars.” If he only knew………….

I know it may seem like a daunting and tedious task, but if you end up losing all of your belongings in a fire, believe me, you will thank yourself!


  1. Jim Minkey says:

    Hey Jen;

    I’ve got an escrow right now where the sellers asked my buyer if they would like to purchase their round dinning room table. They said they paid $20,000 for it.(Amazing!) How much do you want to bet their insurance company doesn’t know they have a $20,000 dinning room set?

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